If you’re like most people, the period between Halloween and New Year’s is an eating extravaganza: The parties, the meals, the potlucks, the leftovers…And with that comes the promise we all make to ourselves: “After this, I’m going to eat better and exercise more.” Sound familiar? Of course, it does. It’s why the gyms are packed every January.

So how will 2017 be different? For starters, we recommend that you don’t spend a bundle or sign a contract to get in shape.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Free or low-cost ways to workout

 There are online videos via YouTube, tv programs on demand, podcasts (, phone apps, and DVDs you can borrow from your library. There are also free, trial classes offered at most gyms and studios, and affordable memberships available at community centers, and YMCAs.

Check Groupon and Living Social

Groupon and Living Social sites and apps offer lots of exercise programs with top facilities at discounts and without commitments. Check these regularly and take advantage of deals at up to 80 percent off the regular price.

Need an extra push?

If you’re more motivated by a group or exercise buddy and don’t have one available when you are, look into MeetUp.com. This is an online network of people looking for like-minded individuals to hike, bike, or yoga with. Click on the Sports and Fitness link to learn more.


women working out drinking water

Think outside the box

Exercise equipment is all around us, of course (stairs, sidewalks, your body’s natural resistance, etc.), but you can also buy everything from exercise balls and yoga mats to pedometers and clothes at incredible prices. How? Try looking in stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Ross and/or search for what you’re wanting online via Craig’s List or eBay. Best bet? If you enjoy bargain hunting, hit a garage sale. You can often find expensive equipment like stationary or real bikes at amazing prices.

Gym membership

Still hoping for a reasonable-priced gym membership? It’s possible, especially if you are entitled to a special rate. Seniors, veterans, students, and even teachers can score a great discount…but don’t hesitate to try to negotiate even if you don’t fall into any of these categories. Facilities are sometimes more flexible (so to speak) than advertised.

Here’s hoping that soon you won’t be squeezing into your clothes. And speaking of “squeezing,” want to learn how to get even more out of your exercising (and other) dollars?